China's All-Seeing Eye

By: Naomi Klein, Rolling Stone magazine At: May 20, 2008

Downloaded from: Nicene Truth, a blog maintained by Jay Dyer

[Pictured here is communist China's Olympic stadium, 2008.
Communist China and Israel were two of the first nations to adopt the DoD FERET-funded face scan surveillance systems. As of this writing, in 2008, China is surveilled by the same Iraeli mass surveillance systems as were installed in the telecom systems of the United States and 100 other nations: "The Chinese government implanted Narus (Israeli surveillance equipment) in all its telecommunication organizations, including China Telecom, China Netcom, China Mobile, and China Unicom. The services included 'traffic analysis' and 'interception'." (James Bamford, The Shadow Factory, page 258, DOUBLEDAY, Copyright 2008) Narus is an Israeli company allegedly connected with the Israeli intel community.]

Thirty years ago, the city of Shenzhen didn't exist. Back in
those days, it was a string of small  fishing  villages  and
collectively  run rice paddies, a place of rutted dirt roads
and traditional temples. That was before the Communist Party
chose it thanks to its location close to Hong Kong's port to
be Chinas first special economic  zone,  one  of  only  four
areas  where capitalism would be permitted on a trial basis.
The theory behind the experiment was that  the  China  would
keep  its  socialist  soul  intact  while profiting from the
private-sector jobs and industrial  development  created  in
Shenzhen.  The result was a city of pure commerce, undiluted
by  history  or  rooted  culture  the   crack   cocaine   of
capitalism.  It  was  a force so addictive to investors that
the Shenzhen experiment  quickly  expanded,  swallowing  not
just  the  surrounding  Pearl  River Delta, which now houses
roughly 100,000 factories, but  much  of  the  rest  of  the
country  as  well. Today, Shenzhen is a city of 12.4 million
people, and there is a good chance that  at  least  half  of
everything  you own was made here: iPods, laptops, sneakers,
flatscreen TVs, cellphones, jeans, maybe  your  desk  chair,
possibly   your  car  and  almost  certainly  your  printer.
Hundreds of luxury condominiums tower over  the  city;  many
are  more  than  40  stories  high,  topped with three-story
penthouses. Newer neighborhoods like Keji  Yuan  are  packed
with  ostentatiously  modern corporate campuses and decadent
shopping malls. Rem Koolhaas, Pradas favorite architect,  is
building  a  stock  exchange  in Shenzhen that looks like it
floats a design intended, he says, to suggest and illustrate
the   process  of  the  market.  A  still-under-construction
superlight subway will soon connect it all  at  high  speed;
every  car has multiple TV screens broadcasting over a Wi-Fi
network.  At  night,  the  entire  city  lights  up  like  a
pimped-out  Hummer,  with  each  five-star  hotel and office
tower competing over who can put on the best light show.

Many of the  big  American  players  have  set  up  shop  in
Shenzhen,  but  they  look  singularly  unimpressive next to
their Chinese competitors. The research complex  for  Chinas
telecom  giant Huawei, for instance, is so large that it has
its own highway exit, while its workers ride home  on  their
own  bus  line.  Pressed up against Shenzhens disco shopping
centers, Wal-Mart superstores of which there are nine in the
city  look like dreary corner stores. (China almost seems to
be mocking us: You call that a superstore? McDonalds and KFC
appear  every few blocks, but they seem almost retro next to
the Real Kung Fu fast-food chain, whose mascot is a stylized
Bruce Lee.

American  commentators  like  CNNs Jack Cafferty dismiss the
Chinese as the same bunch of goons and thugs theyve been for
the  last  50 years. But nobody told the people of Shenzhen,
who are  busily  putting  on  a  24-hour-a-day  show  called
America  a  pirated  version  of  the  original,  only  with
flashier design, higher profits and less  complaining.  This
has  not  happened  by  accident. China today, epitomized by
Shenzhens transition from  mud  to  megacity  in  30  years,
represents  a  new way to organize society. Sometimes called
market Stalinism, it is a potent hybrid of the most powerful
political tools of authoritarian communism central planning,
merciless repression,  constant  surveillance  harnessed  to
advance the goals of global capitalism.

Now,  as  China  prepares  to showcase its economic advances
during the upcoming Olympics in Beijing,  Shenzhen  is  once
again serving as a laboratory, a testing ground for the next
phase of this vast social  experiment.  Over  the  past  two
years, some 200,000 surveillance cameras have been installed
throughout the city. Many are in public spaces, disguised as
lampposts.  The  closed-circuit  TV  cameras  will  soon  be
connected to a single,  nationwide  network,  an  all-seeing
system  that  will  be  capable  of tracking and identifying
anyone who comes within its range a project driven  in  part
by  U.S.  technology  and  investment.  Over  the next three
years, Chinese security executives predict they will install
as  many as 2 million CCTVs in Shenzhen, which would make it
the most watched city in the world.  (Security-crazy  London
boasts only half a million surveillance cameras.)

The  security  cameras  are  just one part of a much broader
high-tech surveillance and censorship program known in China
as  Golden  Shield.  The  end  goal  is  to  use  the latest
people-tracking technology thoughtfully supplied by American
giants like IBM, Honeywell and General Electric to create an
airtight consumer cocoon: a place where Visa  cards,  Adidas
sneakers,  China  Mobile  cellphones, McDonalds Happy Meals,
Tsingtao beer and UPS delivery (to name just a  few  of  the
official  sponsors  of  the Beijing Olympics) can be enjoyed
under the unblinking eye of the state, without the threat of
democracy  breaking  out.  With political unrest on the rise
across China, the government hopes to use  the  surveillance
shield to identify and counteract dissent before it explodes
into a mass movement like the one that  grabbed  the  worlds
attention at Tiananmen Square.

Remember  how  weve  always  been told that free markets and
free people go hand in hand? That was a lie.  It  turns  out
that  the  most  efficient delivery system for capitalism is
actually a communist-style  police  state,  fortressed  with
American  homeland security technologies, pumped up with war
on terror rhetoric. And the  global  corporations  currently
earning   superprofits   from  this  social  experiment  are
unlikely to be content if the lucrative new  market  remains
confined  to  cities  such as Shenzhen. Like everything else
assembled in China with American parts, Police State 2.0  is
ready for export to a neighborhood near you.

Zhang  Yi points to an empty bracket on the dashboard of his
black Honda. It used to hold my GPS, but I leave it at  home
now,  he  says. Its the crime they are too easy to steal. He
quickly adds, Since the surveillance  cameras  came  in,  we
have seen a very dramatic decrease in crime in Shenzhen.

After driving for an hour past hundreds of factory gates and
industrial parks, we pull up to a salmon-color building that
Zhang  partly  owns.  This is the headquarters of FSAN: CCTV
System.  Zhang,  a  prototypical  Shenzhen   yuppie   in   a
royal-blue   button-down  shirt  and  black-rimmed  glasses,
apologizes for the mess. Inside,  every  inch  of  space  is
lined with cardboard boxes filled with electronics parts and
finished products.

Zhang opened the factory two and a half years ago,  and  his
investment has already paid off tenfold. That kind of growth
isnt unusual in the field  he  has  chosen:  Zhangs  factory
makes  digital  surveillance  cameras, turning out 400,000 a
year. Half of the cameras are shipped overseas, destined  to
peer  from building ledges in London, Manhattan and Dubai as
part of the global boom in homeland security. The other half
stays   in  China,  many  right  here  in  Shenzhen  and  in
neighboring  Guangzhou,  another  megacity  of  12   million
people.  Chinas  market  for  surveillance  cameras  enjoyed
revenues of $4.1 billion last year, a  jump  of  24  percent
from 2006.

Zhang  escorts  me to the assembly line, where rows of young
workers, most of them women, are bent  over  semiconductors,
circuit  boards,  tiny  cables and bulbs. At the end of each
line is quality control,  which  consists  of  plugging  the
camera  into  a  monitor and making sure that it records. We
enter a showroom where Zhang and his  colleagues  meet  with
clients.  The  walls are lined with dozens of camera models:
domes of all sizes, specializing in day and night,  wet  and
dry,  camouflaged  to  look like lights, camouflaged to look
like smoke detectors, explosion-proof, the size of a  soccer
ball, the size of a ring box.

The  workers  at  FSAN  dont just make surveillance cameras;
they are constantly watched by them. While  they  work,  the
silent  eyes  of  rotating  lenses capture their every move.
When they leave work and board buses, they are filmed again.
When  they  walk to their dormitories, the streets are lined
with what look like newly installed streetlamps, their white
poles  curving  toward  the sidewalk with black domes at the
ends. Inside the domes are high-resolution cameras, the same
kind  the workers produce at FSAN. Some blocks have three or
four, one every few yards. One Shenzhen-based company, China
Security &Surveillance Technology, has developed software to
enable the cameras to alert police when an unusual number of
people begin to gather at any given location.

In  2006,  the Chinese government mandated that all Internet
cafes  (as  well  as  restaurants  and  other  entertainment
venues)  install  video  cameras  with direct feeds to their
local police stations. Part of a wider surveillance  project
known  as  Safe  Cities,  the  effort  now  encompasses  660
municipalities in  China.  It  is  the  most  ambitious  new
government  program  in the Pearl River Delta, and supplying
it is one of the fastest-growing new markets in Shenzhen.

But the cameras that Zhang manufactures are only part of the
massive  experiment  in population control that is under way
here. The big picture, Zhang tells me in his office  at  the
factory,  is  integration.  That  means linking cameras with
other  forms  of   surveillance:   the   Internet,   phones,
facial-recognition software and GPS monitoring.

This  is  how this Golden Shield will work: Chinese citizens
will be watched around  the  clock  through  networked  CCTV
cameras  and  remote  monitoring  of computers. They will be
listened to on  their  phone  calls,  monitored  by  digital
voice-recognition  technologies.  Their Internet access will
be  aggressively  limited  through  the  countrys  notorious
system of online controls known as the Great Firewall. Their
movements will be tracked through  national  ID  cards  with
scannable  computer  chips  and  photos  that  are instantly
uploaded to police databases and  linked  to  their  holders
personal  data.  This  is the most important element of all:
linking all these tools together in  a  massive,  searchable
database  of  names,  photos,  residency  information,  work
history and biometric data. When Golden Shield is  finished,
there will be a photo in those databases for every person in
China: 1.3 billion faces.

Above, the Olympic stadium in Beijing, China, is designed to form an eye.

"Does the Brotherhood exist?" "That Winston, you will never know. If we choose to set you free when we have finished with you, and if you live to be ninety years old, still you will never learn whether the answer to that question is yes or no. As long as you live, it will be a riddle in your mind."
-- 1984 by George Orwell

[Visit for more information.]

Is Israel "the eavesdropping capital of the world"?
China's All-Seeing Eye, Rolling Stone magazine, May 20, 2008
Interpol Details Plans For Global Biometric Facial Scan Database Every traveler to be scanned and checked against terrorist faces, Oct 20, 2008,
"Thus, virtually the entire American telecommunications system is bugged by two Israeli-formed companies with possible links to Israel's eavesdropping agency--with no oversight by Congress." -- James Bamford, The Shadow Factory, 2008, DOUBLEDAY, page 246
"Big Brother will be watching you, thanks to biometric face recognition software. The REAL ID Act provides for federally mandated use of biometric data embedded in state driver's licenses." TNA, June 27, 2005
"With the development of television, and the technical advance which made it possible to recieve and transmit simultaneously on the same instrument, private life came to an end. Every citizen, or at least every citizen worth watching, could be kept for twenty-four hours a day under the eyes of the police and the sound of official propaganda." George Orwell, 1984, 1948
"...that no man might buy or sell, save that had the mark, or the name of the beast, or the number of his name" (Revelation 13:17)"